Although there are certainly a few athletes who should—and do—take heat for being known as less than brilliant, just because a guy is faster and stronger than the normal person doesn’t mean that they aren’t smart, too. So instead of focusing on the guys who do dumb things on occasion, we’re giving you the ones who could wind up being your boss someday, as these are the smartest athletes in sports.
6. Ryan Fitzpatrick, Houston Texans
On the field, Fitzpatrick might not be much of a stud—he’s a solid backup, but in no way should be relied on as a starter. But if you gave this guy a question that would be difficult for your or me to figure out, there’s a good chance he’d dominate the answer. With a degree from Harvard and an SAT score of 1580, this dude has shown to be the smartest guy in the room no matter where he is.
5. Shane Battier, Retired
While Battier may have been a bit overvalued as a leader and good defender coming into the league back in 2001 when he earned the No. 6 spot in the draft, he showed that when it came to his studies, he never devalued them. With an interest in sabermetrics, finance and golf—all things that require some sort of knowledge—as well as a 3.5 GPA while at Duke, Battier is about as clever off the court as he is with his wily defensive moves on it.
4. Pau Gasol, Chicago Bulls
Sure, Pau Gasol might not be the player he used to be just a few years ago, and flashes some hilariously awkward struggle faces, but don’t let that fool you into thinking he’s not bright. In addition to studying at the University of Barcelona’s med school, where he left early to pursue his basketball career, Pau can also speak three different languages and seen success on the court with two NBA titles. The dude is a giant, so it would have been pretty funny to see him in a doctor’s jacket, but we’re sure he’d be just as great at it as he is playing hoops.
3. Alex Smith, Kansas City Chiefs
We’re not quite sure what current Chiefs QB Alex Smith did, but he somehow managed to not only earn the top spot in the 2005 NFL Draft, but was also able to hold down a 3.74 GPA while in college at Utah—in Economics! Of course, this was all while going 21-1 as the Utes starting signal-caller, leading them to a Fiesta Bowl win in his final season with the team. As someone interested in going to law school, at least he has something to turn towards should the football thing not work out.
2. Chris Young, Seattle Mariners
Chris Young has plenty of success to brag about. If it’s not about his baseball career, it could be about his accomplishments in his studies, where he graduated from Princeton. Seeing how his thesis was about the impact Jackie Robinson and the integration of baseball on racial stereotypes, it looks like Young is doing a fine job of crossing over his love of baseball for his knowledge of studies. Oh yeah, and he also landed a 1300 on the SATs, so he’s more than just bats and gloves.
1. Jeremy Lin, Los Angeles Lakers
Lin might have fallen off a lot from his “Linsanity” days from a few years ago, but the dude is still brilliant. That’s usually the case when a guy studies at Harvard. Whether or not he ever returns to that amazing stretch of basketball in his life again or not, Lin could probably walk into nearly any business and tell them that he wants a job and they’d hire him on the spot. Not too many people could do that.
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